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Under the Radar Announces Best of 2015 Issue with Father John Misty and Wolf Alice on the Cover

Issue 56 Also Includes Courtney Barnett vs. Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, Artist Surveys, and Interviews with Joanna Newsom, Mac DeMarco, Mark Ronson, iZombie's Rose McIver, and More

Jan 14, 2016 Photography by Pal Hansen Bookmark and Share

Under the Radar is excited to announce the full details of our Best of 2015 issue (out January, February, and into March), which has shipped out to subscribers and stores and will be on all newsstands soon. It will also soon be available digitally via Under the Radar‘s app, and the magazine apps Zinio, Readly, and Readbug. The issue features Father John Misty (aka Josh Tillman) and Wolf Alice singer/guitarist Ellie Rowsell on the cover together.

The issue also features an exclusive joint interview between Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy and acclaimed Australian singer/songwriter/guitarist Courtney Barnett. Also included are Under the Radar‘s Top 100 Albums of 2015 list and our 13th annual Artist Survey section, in which various notable musicians reflect on the music and events of the last year. The issue also includes separate new interviews with artists behind some of 2015’s best albums, including: Mac DeMarco, Joanna Newsom, Mark Ronson, and Shamir. We also talk to actress Rose McIver about her acclaimed role in the TV series iZombie and Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson about their Oscar-nominated animated film Anomalisa.


The issue features two in-depth cover stories, one on Father John Misty and another on Wolf Alice. In the in-depth 3,300-word article on Father John Misty, Josh Tillman discusses his conflicted feelings about fame and success, the attention surrounding his covers of Ryan Adams covering Taylor Swift, his marriage to photographer Emma Garr, and the dark themes of his acclaimed sophomore album, I Love You, Honeybear. Our interview with Tillman was, of course, peppered by his trademark wry wit.

Our in-depth 3,400-word article on Wolf Alice charts the formation and rise of the new British band through the eyes of frontwoman Ellie Rowsell, from her days as a shy North London schoolgirl without the confidence to perform her songs in front of anyone to the assured singer of the band behind 2015’s best debut album, the acclaimed Mercury Prize-nominated My Love Is Cool. We also talk to guitarist Joff Oddie.

Pal Hansen photographed Tillman and Rowsell together for the cover exclusively for Under the Radar in London, England and Matt Fink wrote both cover stories.

“I think my perspective has always sort of been informed by the fact that what most people take really seriously is kind of comic to me, and what’s comic to people is then sort of tragic to me.” - Father John Misty (aka Josh Tillman)

“The joke ultimately is on me because [covering Ryan Adams covering Taylor Swift is] probably what I’ll most be remembered for, if I’m remembered for anything.” - Father John Misty (aka Josh Tillman)

“You can’t embody the ‘90s in one band, because Oasis didn’t sound like Nirvana or whatever. I don’t even know what [music] was in the ‘90s.” - Ellie Rowsell

“I was so disappointed and upset. I just didn’t know the right people, so I think I did get to the point where I was like, ‘I’ll just do it on my own. I’ll be a solo artist.’ But I don’t think I ever really wanted to, and I don’t think I had the confidence, either.” - Ellie Rowsell


The Best of 2015 Issue includes standalone articles on some of the artists who made an impact in the last year. Australian singer/songwriter/guitarist Courtney Barnett and Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy interview each other about their 2015 albums (Barnett’s Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit and Wilco’s Star Wars). Mac DeMarco discusses his mini-album, Another One, all the fans who showed up at his house after giving out his address in the album’s last track, and his feature film debut that isn’t quite what it seems. Singer/songwriter/harpist Joanna Newsom talks about her five-years-in-the-making new album, Divers. We talk to Mark Ronson about the biggest song of the year, “Uptown Funk,” and the album it comes from, Uptown Special. And new Las Vegas singer Shamir discusses his breakthrough debut album, Ratchet. The issue also highlights some of the best from TV, cinema, and comic books in 2015. New Zealand actress Rose McIver is interviewed about her acclaimed role in the CW TV series iZombie. Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson are the co-directors of the Oscar-nominated animated film Anomalisa and they discuss the process of transferring a screenplay originally meant for actors into a stop-motion format. Kaufman is the well-known screenwriter of Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. The DC Comics superhero Black Canary got a new lease on life in 2015 when she was brought back in a new Black Canary comic book series that repositions her as the lead singer of a touring band, also named Black Canary. We talk to writer Brenden Fletcher and artist Annie Wu about the music (from Bauhaus to Grimes) that influenced the sound and look of the fictional Black Canary band.

“I heard Courtney on the radio actually, and I think my first reaction was, ‘That’s a lot of words. She’s singing a lot of words.’” - Jeff Tweedy of Wilco on Courtney Barnett

“I was kind of on a road trip and my girlfriend was doing the music for 10 hours and every now and then a song would pop on and I’d be like, ‘Who’s this?’ And every time it was a Wilco song.” - Courtney Barnett on Wilco

“I don’t write anything in hopes of presenting a challenge or struggle.” - Joanna Newsom

“The trailer comes out, and it’s like, ‘Mac DeMarco, starring...’ And there’s a fucking giant animatronic penis! It’s like ‘What the fuck?’” - Mac DeMarco

“When you’re in the middle of one of the low points you’re like, ‘Fuck. This is it, huh? What am I doing now? Music for Hyundai commercials?’” - Mark Ronson

“I’m not trying to make the most perfect song; I’m trying to make the most honest and real song.” - Shamir

“I try to find different ways to incorporate the characteristics of each person whose brain is eaten by Liv, but still have the audience invested in Liv as a character.” - Rose McIver of iZombie

TOP 100 ALBUMS OF 2015

Under the Radar‘s writers each submitted a list of their 45 favorite albums of 2015 and those lists were combined the form our Top 100 Albums of 2015 list, which includes new write-ups on some of the albums on the list.


For Under the Radar‘s 13th annual Artist Survey we emailed some of our favorite artists a few questions relating to the music and events of 2015, as well as some quirky and personal questions. Topics covered include inadequate artist compensation for music streaming, the growing critical acceptance of mainstream Top 40 pop music, the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, the ISIS terrorist attack at the Eagles of Death Metal concert in Paris, gun control, being fired, earliest music-related childhood memories, dating, which Star Wars character musicians are most like, lame breakup excuses, the 30th anniversary of Back to the Future, Taylor Swift, life goals yet to achieve, least preferred ways to die, preparedness for the apocalypse, and more. Responses from the below artists run in the Best of 2015 print issue:

Will Butler of Arcade Fire
Julien Baker
Blanck Mass
Dan Deacon
The Dears
Dutch Uncles
Everything Everything
Father John Misty
Field Music
The Flaming Lips
How to Dress Well
Sondre Lerche
NZCA Lines
Cullen Omori
Natalie Prass
Small Black
Surfer Blood
Chris Baio of Vampire Weekend
The Walkmen
Youth Lagoon

“I blame lots of people for why artists make less money these days, but I can’t bring myself to blame the people who really like listening to music.” - Will Butler of Arcade Fire

“The last time I had five beers I jumped a fence and broke my foot, so maybe best to steer clear [of too much alcohol] for now.” - Julien Baker

“On three consecutive weekends I went on three different dates but they were all to see the Jim Carrey smash The Mask.” - Benjamin John Power of Blanck Mass and Fuck Buttons

“The underlying issues connected to why these [terror] attacks happen cannot be dealt with by improved security at music venues in the West. Curing the symptoms does not cure the cause.” - Lauren Mayberry of CHVRCHES

“I hate talking about streaming service companies because it’s mainly an argument of how millionaire bands aren’t making as much as they can/would otherwise from millionaire investor-backed startups.” - Dan Deacon

“There is no way Trump actually wants to be President of the United States of America and it almost seems like a joke gone way too far.” - Murray Lightburn of The Dears

“I once broke up with someone because it took two buses to get to her house.” - Duncan Wallis of Dutch Uncles

“I actually have really fond memories of dating, even the disasters and heartbreaks.” - Matt Berninger of EL VY and The National

“There’s nothing worse than an aging artist trying to hide the fact.” - Jonathan Higgs of Everything Everything

“It’s long past time the U.S. had a female president. Though our first (and only) female Prime Minister is probably the most divisive figure in British political history.” - David Brewis of Field Music

“When I was in third grade, there was this big drawing the whole class had to do, and I just took it upon myself to do the whole thing, even though I was supposed to do it with six or seven other third graders.” - Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips

“I’ve never seen Star Wars.” - Tom Krell of How to Dress Well

“The behavior of men, both online and in real life, has always embarrassed me.” - Sondre Lerche

“Maybe we should cover Joanna Newsom covering Dawes covering Yeezus.” - Alan Sparhawk of Low

“The Republicans are bat-shit crazy, their candidates are in a race to see who can be the vilest and stupidest.” - Dean Wareham of Luna

“If we continue to let bankers run the world, we will be in a state of perpetual war.” - Jonas Bjerre of Mew

“This year [for Halloween] I was Edward Dinnerhands, a slant on the popular Tim Burton character involving eye makeup, hairspray, and taping plastic cutlery to my fingers.” - Michael Lovett of NZCA Lines

“My friend said I’d be Leia [from Star Wars]. Mostly because she complained while getting rescued which is something I would definitely do.” - Natalie Prass

“[2015’s] low point was the Internet taking a Justin Bieber record release seriously.” - Josh Kolenik of Small Black

“I like to think of [Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s] Jean-Luc Picard as my moral compass.” - John Paul Pitts of Surfer Blood

“I am heartbroken by the senseless violence seemingly everywhere you look these days.” - Tamaryn

“Some of the best nights of my life have been spent playing music in Paris and the idea that people lost their lives on a similar night is beyond tragic.” - Chris Baio of Vampire Weekend

“I think the NRA is the worst part of America today. They are criminals.” - Hamilton Leithauser of The Walkmen

“Everyone wants music free nowadays and it is the only form of art where that is expected. Absurd.” - Trevor Powers of Youth Lagoon


For our regular last page feature, The End, we ask a different artist the same set of questions about endings and death. Guy Garvey of Elbow is this issue’s participant.

“I want to die just before the punchline of a really, really long anecdote.” - Guy Garvey


Over 75 CDs, films, TV shows, books, and comic books are reviewed in the issue, including reviews of releases by:

The Besnard Lakes
Bloc Party
Blue Jean Committee
The Body
John Cale
Cavern of Anti-Matter
Choir of Young Believers
Club 8
Dr. Dog
Field Music
The Flaming Lips
Eleanor Friedberger
Girls Names
Conrad Keely
La Sera
Lanterns on the Lake
Jenny Lewis with The Watson Twins
Lily and Madeleine
Walter Martin
Mass Gothic
Cass McCombs
Miike Snow
Mystery Jets
Sarah Neufeld
NZCA Lines
Cullen Omori
Yoko Ono
Ra Ra Riot
School of Seven Bells
Ty Segall
Mavis Staples
Sunflower Bean
M. Ward
Wild Nothing
Marlon Williams


Each issue comes with a digital sampler that is a free download and includes up to 33 MP3s. This issue’s digital sampler includes tracks by, among others:

Courtney Barnett
Beach House
The Besnard Lakes
Cavern of Anti-Matter
Choir of Young Believers
Dr. Dog
Mac DeMarco
Everything Everything
Father John Misty
Field Music
Eleanor Friedberger
Lanterns on the Lake
Mass Gothic
NZCA Lines
Natalie Prass
Radiation City
School of Seven Bells
M. Ward
Wild Nothing


The digital version of the issue (available via iTunes, Zinio, Readly, and Readbug for iPads, iPhones, Kindles, Macs, and PCs) also features extra 2015 Artist Survey responses from the following artists:

A Place to Bury Strangers
Club 8
Jacco Gardner
Lanterns on the Lake
Briana Marela
Painted Palms
Frankie Rose
Salad Boys
The Thermals
The Veils

“I’m Swedish, but still, even the slightest chance of Donald Trump having some sort of political power is pretty scary.” - Johan Angergård of Club 8, Eternal Death, and The Legends

“I got asked out in 6th grade over the phone and got so terribly freaked out with disbelief that I basically hung up on him.” - Anna Fox Rochinski of Quilt

“I don’t ever want to date. The thought of being on Tinder makes me want to die.” - Frankie Rose

“Circling the Persian Gulf for an hour in a giant plane while it dumped its fuel for an emergency landing [was the low point of 2015].” - Jonathan Meiburg of Shearwater

“Bernie Sanders is a positive force, but supporting him isn’t realistic in the long run.” - Hutch Harris of The Thermals

Click here to buy the print version of the issue.

Click here to subscribe to the print version of Under the Radar.

Click here to buy the digital version of the issue (via iTunes and for iPads, iPhones, Android devices, Macs, and PCs).

Click here to subscribe to the digital version of Under the Radar (via iTunes and for iPads, iPhones, Android devices, Macs, and PCs).

Click here for a list of U.S. stores that carry Under the Radar.


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Adam Safar
January 14th 2016

I never heard of some of these names. Very interesting article. I learned quit a bit because I wasn’t aware Father John Misty and Wolf Alice. I like to see more posts about this interesting subject.